What I’m Into – April 2015

My oldest daughter decided to start doing these monthly updates and I thought it was a great idea.  I even decided to join the What I’m Into link party at Leigh Kramer‘s blog.


IMG_1323OUT-AND-ABOUT:

I probably should keep a list somewhere of things I do each month.  I’m drawing a blank about what things I did or where I went in April.  I know I went to a couple of local parks with my daughter to walk and enjoy the unseasonably nice weather.  Other than that, I haven’t a clue.  If I remember anything, I’ll update this post.  I’m sure I did more than just go to classes and doctor’s appointments all month.


41g0lE2P4uLREADING:

  • Relational Aesthetics, by Nicolas Bourriaud
  • Art and Fear, by Paul Virilio
  • The Inner History of Devices, by Sherry Turkle
  • The Question Concerning Technology, by Martin Heidegger
  • How to Walk, by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Moomim Book One, by Tove Jansson

Most of these books were assigned MFA reading.


voyagerMOVIES/TELEVISION:

I’d heard mixed reviews about the first Mockingjay movie, but I realize now that the people who didn’t like it tended to be those who hadn’t read The Hunger Games books so they didn’t know that the Games weren’t a part of the last book anymore.  This third installment was actually my favorite of the three so far.

I watched the movie Interstellar, but wasn’t much of a fan.  Sort of uneven.  Good moments.  And not so good moments.  I found it rather unmemorable.

As far as television goes, it’s the usual “I don’t have TV reception so I binge watch old TV shows online” saga.  Still working my way through ALL of the Star Trek series.  Started with the original Star Trek show and have worked my way through Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and now I’m about halfway into Voyager.  Next up, Enterprise, but it’ll be a while before I start with that one since I still have three seasons of Voyager left to watch.  I’ve always been a big Star Trek fan, but other than Voyager, I’ve never really watched the shows in order from beginning to end.  It’s actually been a very different experience than just catching random episodes as they play on TV as reruns.  Much more of a complex interconnected narrative arc from episode to episode and from series to series than I’d realized.


51J9no3KYxLMUSIC:

The author, Dodie Bellamy, was a guest lecturer in one of my MFA classes earlier this quarter.  Prior to her coming to class, we read a short essay she’d written in which she talked about how she often listened to the Trouble Man soundtrack while washing dishes. (I wrote a short response to her essay: Doing Dishes).  I was feeling like I wanted some new music in my life, so I bought the CD and it’s lived in my car’s CD player ever since.  When I’m not listening to local and national news, I’m listening to Marvin Gaye these days.


IMG_1338GRAD SCHOOL:

As a project for one of my classes, I hosted a Literary Open Mic at a local coffee shop last Saturday.  It was great fun and the coffee shop owner asked if I could do it once a month (so I guess it was a successful experiment).  For details about how the activity went, I wrote about it on my other blog:

The woman in the photo is Carol Shaw, one of my fellow MFA students who came to the Open Mic.  She’s truly a wonderful poet and I suspect we’ll be hearing (and reading!) lots of great things from her in the future.

We’re nearing the end of the first year of Grad School.  It’s gone by so quickly!  In last night’s class, we discussed what we need to be doing this month in preparation for choosing our thesis adviser, choosing our thesis topic (!), and planning our electives and directed-readings for next year.  I’m hoping to intern for one of my previous professors from my undergrad studies.  Fingers crossed!  By the time I do May’s update, I’ll probably have my thesis adviser already and maybe have even met with them to plan out my summer and next year.  It’s getting exciting!


51BlGAcUHnLBLOGS and BOOKS and EZINES, oh my!

After realizing earlier this year that a number of my older books were now out-of-print with the previous publishers, I re-acquired my rights to the books and decided to self-publish the titles just so they’d still be available.  It’ll be a while before I get all the books redone–my Grad School studies take priority right now.

If you’re curious, you can find my new “publishing” website here:

This month I released two books.

The Simple Mom’s Idea Book is a re-release of an older book.  New cover, nicer format.  Easier access for people (it now comes in both paperback and Kindle formats).  A Twaddle-Free Education is brand new!  It’s a collection of writings I’ve done over the years about home education and Charlotte Mason (a British educator from the last century).


I’ll be trying to remember to post one of these monthly wrap-ups at the end of each month this year.  I’m not really updating this blog regularly right now with all my school-related things going on, so I thought this could be a nice way to keep in touch a little bit more.

Hope everyone’s well!  Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you’re out there.

Simply Yours,

Debi

Poem: Habits

I’ve been playing around a bit with erasure and found poetry lately.  Today I decided to grab a random book off my shelf (specifically not poetry) and construct a poem of sorts from words/phrases in the first few pages/chapters.  The book I chose to play with today was Habits by Charlotte Mason (a British educator from the last century).


Habits

We are all mere creatures of habit

We think our accustomed thoughts

Make our usual small talk

The trivial round

The common task.

The mother’s thoughts run on her children

The painter’s on pictures

The poet’s on poems.

The philospher—

A thinker of high thoughts—

Apt to forget that the thought that defiles

Behaves precisely as the thought that purifies.

The child—

Born with the future in his hands—

The habits of the child

Produce the character of the man.

This is an act of faith resting on experience.

The effort of decision is the greatest effort of life.

Not the doing of the thing

But the making up of one’s mind

Which thing to do first.

Doing dishes

by Debi

In her essay, “Trouble Man,” Dodie Bellamy states, “I’m a lousy housekeeper, and by the end of the week dishes are stacked on every available surface of my kitchen.”

Me, too. Surprisingly, even with an automatic dishwasher, the plates, cups, pots, and pans still pile up.  My problem is that the dishwasher needs to be emptied prior to loading in some fresh dirty dishes.  Maybe it’s not so much that I’m a lousy housekeeper, but that I’m a lazy one?  Emptying the dishwasher just seems like too much work.  In reality, it isn’t a lot of work when I actually do it, but my mind tends to make emptying the dishwasher seem like a huge task looming over me that will somehow disrupt my entire day.

Bellamy listens to Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man soundtrack while she’s getting caught up on the week’s backlog of dried on kitchen gunk.  Sometimes I listen to music, too—my favorite dishwashing CD is the soundtrack to the No Reservations movie.  But usually I listen to the soundtrack in my head.  Either a song stuck in my brain, or just my quiet ruminations on life.

There’s something soothing, almost mesmerizing about doing dishes. The mindlessly repetitive, rhythmic movements.  The warm water and fragrant bubbles.  It’s satisfying to take the kitchen from complete disarray, and return it to a clean, shiny state.  Is that why I procrastinate?  Is it less satisfying on some internal level to just do little clean-ups here and there, but never have the transformational experience that comes from a complete overhaul?

Many things I’ve written have developed after a time of quiet personal reflection—believe it or not, usually while standing at the sink up to my elbows in warm, soapy water, gently scrubbing my plates and glassware.  Standing in one place, actively involved with a mindless physical activity, seems to release something creative in my mind.

Many writers over the centuries have used the mindless activity of walking as a physical meditative process.  For me, while I thoroughly enjoy a good walk, I tend to get so caught up in the sights and sounds, people and birds, creatures and weather around me, that my mind isn’t quite as free to wander as it is when I’m staring at a corner and small window of my kitchen.  The kitchen almost works as a sensory deprivation chamber.  There isn’t much to see, or hear, or experience.  Just the warmth, the steam, the water, the suds, the rhythms of the washing.

I wonder why I delay doing the dishes when it’s such a fruitful, creative time for me?  I have no answer.

But on that note, I have dishes awaiting me.  Meditation time is nigh.

What I’m Into – March 2015

My oldest daughter decided to start doing these monthly updates and I thought it was a great idea.  I even decided to join the What I’m Into link party at Leigh Kramer‘s blog.


OUT-AND-ABOUT:


READING:

Well, once again, much of what I’ve been reading this month is required reading for the MFA Program.  Here’s a list of books I read in March (in no particular order):

  • Lisa Robertson,The Men: A Lyric Book
  • Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida
  • Kate Durbin, E! Entertainment
  • Charlotte Mason, Home Education
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay, Selected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay

It seems like I’ve read other titles this month, but for some reason, they’re just not coming to me offhand.


TELEVISION:


MUSIC:


GRAD SCHOOL:

One third of the way done!  Finished off Winter Quarter 2015.  Spring Break was only one week long, but it gave me the chance to catch my breath before diving in again.

Here are a few of my creative projects from school:


BLOGS and BOOKS and EZINES, oh my!

Nothing particularly new happening on any of my blogs this month.

This month, I published a small book, The Outdoor Life of Children, containing a compilation of Charlotte Mason’s writing/thoughts on the importance of children being out-of-doors.  Charlotte Mason was a British educator from the last century whose methods and philosophies are currently experiencing a revival, especially among American private and home schools.  Eventually there will be a full series of educational topics from Charlotte Mason’s writings (including nature study, geography, history, early childhood education, and more).

I’ve also recently begun publishing two e-magazines which pull information from all over the internet into one easy-to-negotiate online magazine format.


I’ll be trying to remember to post one of these monthly wrap-ups at the end of each month this year.  I’m not really updating this blog regularly right now with all my school-related things going on, so I thought this could be a nice way to keep in touch a little bit more.

Hope everyone’s well!  Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you’re out there.

Simply Yours,

Debi